Juan Mejia

By Frank Trejo

From childhood poverty in South Texas through the Battle of the Bulge, one of World War II's bloodiest conflicts, Juan Mejia proved he was a survivor.

Mejia's wartime experiences included being listed as missing-in-action for a time, but he said it never occurred to him that he might die.

"The closest I got was when a piece of shrapnel fell on me here on my coat," he said. "I just did this, brushed it off."

Nathan Edgar Bossom

By Stephanie Threinen

Alabama native Nathan Edgar Bossom had never set foot outside of the South before he was drafted into World War II at the age of 20.

Although he’s Anglo, Bossom notes there was camaraderie among the troops of his unit in spite of their different backgrounds. He says he especially remembers Hector Barrera, a fellow soldier with whom he became good friends.

Lillian Margerite Hollingsworth Ramirez

By Raquel C. Garza

On June 6, 1944, Lillian Marguerite Ramirez was baking gingerbread men as a surprise for a neighbor's child.

Ramirez's husband, Oswaldo, meanwhile, was thousands of miles away, serving on the front lines on Omaha Beach.

Her brother-in-law, Rafael Ramirez, had come to visit her in her parents’ home in Biloxi, Miss., a day earlier. He arrived the night before D-Day, or Operation Overlord, was scheduled to take place.

"All that day, they kept turning off the radio when I would walk in," Ramirez said.